“Smash” episode 2 – “The Callback”February 15, 2012
Caution – spoilers ahead!
I stand by my previous statements about “Smash” now that I’ve seen the second episode. I didn’t know the name Megan Hilty before, but I did my Wikipedia research since, and discovered that art sort of imitates life. (Yes, I know there are other sources of information. Some are even more reliable, I hear.) Hilty played Glinda in “Wicked” on Broadway and later for a while in the touring show. She has pretty darned good stage credentials. Katherine McPhee, on the other hand, has more experience in the pop music and recording world. Either McPhee is an extremely fine physical actress – and that could be the case, I suppose – or she really is a bit less comfortable with dancing. She really looked much less confident than Hilty, even in the dance segment where she should have it solidly rehearsed. I don’t have a problem with that, but I found it interesting.
The B story about Julia and Frank’s attempt to adopt a baby from China felt a bit flawed to me. First, the resolution of the conflict between the two resulting in Frank’s acceptance was awfully quick. It had that rushed feeling I get at the end of some CSI episodes, when the DNA match comes in and the killer is unmasked two minutes before the end of the episode. I did like the involvement of their son, however. Often teenagers are portrayed as selfish and emotional, and Leo seemed to have a better head on his shoulders than either of his parents.
As I said in my last post, I enjoyed the chemistry between Julia and Tom in the first episode, and I thought that relationship is developing nicely. They have differences of opinion, but they have demonstrated the kind of closeness and mutual respect that you hope to see in two professionals who have worked together for so long. I hope more of the interaction between Julia and Tom takes place on screen. I think a window into the creative process between a lyricist and a composer might be interesting to a general audience, especially if it can be done without being over the top. So far, the show is very subtle and kind of understated. I don’t know if the audience in general will appreciate that, but I sure do!
The scene where Dev expresses his upset with Karen because she didn’t make the dinner with the assistant mayor seemed forced, too. But then, both of them are young and driven. Again, Dev’s sudden change of heart was too abrupt for me. I found her reason for not calling him much more believable. She’s a young, inexperienced girl in the big city, being considered for a starring role in a Broadway musical by a womanizing, temperamental director. No pressure there!
I was so impressed with the pacing of the pilot that those little things bothered me. Many TV dramas today are written with condensed plotline timeframes, so many viewers probably didn’t even notice it. Reading what I just wrote, I feel like I’m writing a soap opera column. The show didn’t have that kind of feel at all. In my view they got it 95% right, and that’s far more than most any other new television drama I’ve seen in years. Theresa Rebeck, who created the series and wrote the scripts for the whole 15 episodes, is to be congratulated. Skillfully done. Kudos to director Michael Mayer as well.
No comment on the reveal as to who was selected to play Marilyn – I think that’s a feint; the star on opening night doesn’t have to be the one selected today.
I wasn’t able to watch the episode when it was broadcast. I was willing to pay the three bucks to get it from iTunes. The sound is great in the HD version, also, even on the iPad!